V

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Da'an, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. Da'an

    Da'an Commander Red Shirt

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    I've just found out that there's a remake of V being made starring the, uh, "companion" from Firefly and the bitch from Lost.

    I loved the original series that had Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) in it and I can't wait to see what this new one will be like.

    It'll be nice to have Elizabeth Mitchell playing a character I'll actually like. (I loathe Juliet.) Morena Baccarin looks gorgeous as always.

    Here's a YouTube trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZLiNa4KzsY
     
  2. Leroy

    Leroy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I hope it features visitors that sympathize with the humans the Fifth Column and break the cliche of aliens=bad. A plot point I always wanted to see fleshed out in V is the alien race that the visitors are at war with and need to convert humans into troops to fight them.
     
  3. Da'an

    Da'an Commander Red Shirt

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    That sounds a lot like Earth: Final Conflict. The Taelons (referred to as the Companions) were at war with the Jaridians and needed to convert Humans into troops to fight them. ;)

    In V, the Visitors just needed food and water because their planet was dying.
     
  4. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    I suspect there will be a "Willie" or "Martin" character who is at least partly responsible for forming a resistance movement while keeping his alien identity a secret.
     
  5. The Master of Tarquin Hill

    The Master of Tarquin Hill Commodore Commodore

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    As someone who watched V in its original run I can only guess that you are very unfamiliar with what this story is about.

    I mean seriously, did you even look up anything about the original miniseries before you posted?

    They wanted us for food...and all of our water! I call that a well-rounded meal.
     
  6. Da'an

    Da'an Commander Red Shirt

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    According to the Wiki article on V:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_(2009_TV_series)
     
  7. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    As I recall when Donovan first sees the humans in suspended animation he is told that many of them are to be used as troops in the Visitors war with another alien species. This leads to a sub plot where the Resistance try to signal the other race for help (this was never followed up on).

    Those humans not suitable for use as troops would be food.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^That's right -- in the original miniseries, the Visitors were at war with another race, and the climax of the miniseries was the humans sending a signal to that other race and hoping they would prove to be allies. It's a thread that was completely dropped in the sequel miniseries and weekly series, which were made without the involvement of V creator Kenneth Johnson. I believe Johnson revived the concept in his recent sequel novel, which ignores everything after the initial miniseries.

    But we definitely did see alien Fifth Columnists in V, characters such as Martin and Willy who resisted their leaders' policies and worked to defend the humans. Heck, it was V that introduced me to the term "Fifth Column" in the first place.

    And I'd be happy if the remake ditched the whole "We need your water" thing, though I don't think they are. It's very, very scientifically ignorant. There are thousands and thousands of times more water (in the form of ice) to be found in the moons and comets of the outer Solar System than you'd ever find on Earth, and it's much easier to obtain because you don't have to fight the gravity of the Earth and the Sun to get it out of the system. Heck, you could find huge amounts of water ice around practically any star in the galaxy. So there's just no reason why an inhabited planet would be the only place the Visitors could go to find water. If anything, that's the last place they should look for water, because the water on an inhabited planet is going to be far from sterile.
     
  9. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but the inhabited planet has a native labor force -- not to mention technology -- which can be exploited to help gather and process the water at a fraction of the cost of building a whole operation and importing the labor into a hostile planetary/cometary environment -- or trying to extract sparsely distributed water vapor in the harsh vacuum of deep space. Plus, it's difficult to find good hors d'oeuvres on moons, comets or in orbits around stars. :techman:

    As for the show itself, the previews are mixed. The "announcement" from the bottom of the spaceships looks terribly ridiculous. But some of the other sequences, the interview for example, are intriguing.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Who said anything about "sparsely distributed water vapor?" There are vast amounts of H2O quite nicely concentrated in the form of ice. The amount of ice available on the asteroid Ceres alone is greater than the total amount of fresh water on the entire Earth. Most of Saturn's moons consist primarily of ice. Don't think in terms of vapor or even liquid. In the outer Solar System, water is a mineral. It's a rock you can mine, and it's just about the most abundant kind of "rock" available beyond the Main Asteroid Belt.

    And the environment of an outer moon or asteroid is probably a lot less hostile than an inhabited planet surface -- no harsh weather, no dangerous animals, little solar radiation hazard, and again, much less gravity to fight. There's also the matter of distance. It would take far less energy and effort for the Visitors to mine the outer moons and comets of their own star system -- which, again, should provide thousands of times as much water as a single inhabited planet would ever need -- than it would take to travel across light-years to another star system. There's no sensible reason why any species would ever need to leave its own system for a resource as basic as water, because water ice is going to be one of the most abundant geological constituents of any planetary system in the galaxy.

    And even if, for some reason, their water demands were so great that they needed more than one star system could provide, there are still at least five star systems closer to the Visitors' home system of Sirius than Sol is.

    Although of course Sirius is only 300 million years old and couldn't possibly support advanced life anyway, unless they weren't native to that system and their world is terraformed to begin with. In which case their technology would be so advanced that they wouldn't need anything as primitive and inefficient as human labor to help them acquire water.
     
  11. Leroy

    Leroy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've seen the first mini the Final Battle and some of the god awful TV show. If I've never seen the mini there is no way I could have mentioned The Fifth Column. I am concerned tptb would change that to make things more black and white. In the first mini the Visitors wanted us for shock troops in addition to food and water but it was dropped after the first mini. The very end scene was the resistance sending a signal out into deep space so the other aliens could receive it and come to their aid. I want to see it fleshed out evidenced by the fact a lot of people have forgotten it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  12. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My mistake. You said "you could find huge amounts of water ice around practically any star in the galaxy" after commenting on comets, moons, etc. and I took that to mean you were commenting on a more nebulous kind of phenomenon.


    Here I have to disagree. Harsh weather and hostile environments on Earth as compared to the moons and comets of space? I don't see too much clamor for beachfront property on, say, Europa. :cool:

    Besides, why build an entire mining operation from scratch (or several of them) on the frozen surface of a comet or moon when you could make use of tech and labor from an already-inhabited world (one which has a relatively mild and hospitable environment) with a decent industrial infrastructure, but is technologically inferior? Particularly when that labor force is renewable and can be used as both food and fodder for future imperialistic operations?

    If you were to siphon water on Earth, and didn't want to do all the labor yourself, and wanted to use your operation as a base of operations for an imperialistic agenda, where would would you go? To exploit an industrial center or to Antarctica?

    Sure, there are other options for water, but even so, do they have a ready supply of food? Labor? Industry?

    The point is, while I agree there could be better options for the Visitors if all they wanted was just water, it isn't "scientifically ignorant" to suggest that they might come here for their water, food and imperialistic needs -- all of which are stated in the original V mini-series and in KJ's sequel book.

    Besides, isn't science fiction inherently about what is possible, more than it is about what is probable? And, in truth, while it's highly improbable that an alien force will arrive a week from next Tuesday to subjugate the planet, take the water and use us for food, it is possible. :techman:
     
  13. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How anyone can call loyal, steadfast, brave Juliet a "bitch" is beyond me but maybe you'll fare better with her character in V (who I have a hunch will be fairly Juliet-like; that's probably part of the reason why they cast her in the role.)

    Most bitches I know would react, uh, with a bit less maturity to Sawyer's googly-eyes problem vis a vis Kate. :rommie: Juliet's a rock; she's a female version of Sam Anders, doesn't matter how they get kicked around romantically, they always behave in a classy manner that is beyond the capacity of 90% of the population.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Reread the sentence you just quoted. You'll see it includes the word "ice." Ice is not vapor.


    We're talking about the needs of an interstellar mining expedition, not a travel agency. Any civilization capable of traveling to the stars would have long since mastered the mechanics of operating in deep space. The problems involved in mining asteroids and comets are trivial compared to those involved in travelling across interstellar distances. Any civilization so primitive that it couldn't handle a little vacuum would not be travelling here from another star system in the first place. For that matter, any civilization that advanced would probably use mostly robotic mining equipment anyway, so life support isn't even an issue.


    Because it's about a kajillion times easier to any civilization of the technological level we're talking about. Because the amount of water available on Earth's surface is a fraction of a percent of what you could get from the Oort Cloud or the Kuiper Belt, and it's vastly more energy-intensive to lug it up out of the Earth's gravity well and then the Sun's gravity well. Earth is the largest solid body in the entire Solar System. Our gravity is comparatively intense. From the perspective of a space-based operation, that makes Earth one of the least desirable planets to extract materials from. It's just not worth it for such a comparatively tiny quantity of water.

    You're evidently not aware of just how easy it is to move things around in space when you don't have to worry about fighting Earth's gravity. It's said that if you can get into low orbit from the Earth's surface, that puts you halfway to anywhere, because it takes as much energy just to travel that few hundred kilometers out of our intense gravity than it does to travel on a freefall trajectory just about anywhere else in the system.

    And again, it would be immensely easier for the Visitors just to go to their own cometary belt or Oort Cloud. I find it thoroughly absurd that a civilization could've so thoroughly exhausted its own star system's water reserves that it would need to travel nine light-years to find more. Water is simply not scarce in the galaxy. That's a fantasy.

    And how could they possibly run out of water? It's not like water ceases to exist once it's been used. If it's polluted, it can be cleaned. If it's converted into other substances, it can be converted back. Yes, we have water shortages on Earth, but that's not because the water ceases to exist; it's because it's expensive and difficult to clean it, desalinate it, or move it to where it's needed. But the difficulty of doing those things is about a million times less than the difficulty of travelling across interstellar space.


    If I were a member of a civilization advanced enough to traverse interstellar distances, I'd either use robots or I'd use a replicator-type technology to extract hydrogen and oxygen from materials around me and create water. You're assuming modern-day technological limitations that are fundamentally incompatible with the premise of interstellar travel.

    Not to mention that your analogy is illegitimate, because we're talking about a situation where you'd have literally millions of "Antarcticas" that were hundreds of thousands of times closer than the nearest "industrial center." In that context, the "Antarcticas" are immensely more convenient and practical to exploit.


    Again, you're assuming a limited technology that's incompatible with an interstellar civilization. Anyone that advanced should be able to synthesize food or water and use robotic labor, and they'd have to have an incredibly robust and efficient industry that would easily outperform our entire planet's industrial output by a factor of thousands.


    Sorry, you're wrong. The water thing is just monumentally stupid on every level. As for food, it's unlikely that the life forms of one planet could gain nourishment from those of another planet; at best it would be like junk food, not very nutritious and toxic in excess. The only way in which interstellar conquest makes any sense is if it's motivated purely by imperialism. There's just no material gain that can't be met within your own star system if your technology is advanced enough to synthesize needed substances from raw elements -- and that's a given if you're capable of interstellar flight.


    Science fiction is not a license for sloppiness and stupidity. Would you apply that argument to another genre? Sure, maybe it's possible that, say, some of the absurdly convoluted romantic entanglements and inane plot twists on TV soap operas could happen, but just because they're not impossible doesn't mean they aren't worthy of criticism for being unbelievable and unintelligent. As a career SF author myself, I am deeply offended by the pervasive attitude in our society that SF isn't worth holding to the same standards of quality as any other genre, or that it's not "supposed" to make sense or be treated with care and intelligence. SF authors have as much obligation as authors in any other genre to make their work believable and grounded in good research. If you were writing a romantic comedy in Paris, you wouldn't say the Eiffel Tower was 50 miles tall, painted neon orange, and located atop Mt. Everest. You'd put enough basic care into it to make it reasonably consistent with reality. The same should go for science fiction as for any other genre. And saying that SF is somehow exempt from basic standards of competence and believability is an insult to the entire genre.
     
  15. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    And apologies if Christopher's already made this point or something like it and I've missed it, but even five mile-wide ships, even an armada of 50-odd of them, has a fairly minimal carrying volume compared with the open water on Earth. It'd take a lot more than the generation Martin mentions to cart it all to Sirius by mothership, even assuming they've got FTL drives (which doesn't seem to be the case in the mini-series, but must be the case later on).
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Right. Far less energy-intensive just to go to their own asteroid belt and use solar sails or ion thrusters to redirect the courses of a few dozen large ice-bearing asteroids or protocomets to fall inward, then park them in orbit around their home planet. It'd take a few years, but it'd be comparatively easy for any spacefaring power to achieve.
     
  17. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Like I said, my mistake. You wrote "water ice" and I misread it. Mea culpa. The horse is dead already. No need to keep beating it.

    You know all of this for a fact? From which examples of civilizations with interstellar flight are you basing these conclusions?

    My point is that while you clearly have spent a lot of time researching this, and while you have a great resource of current scientific fact and theory, many of these ideas are conjecture. You're making inferences -- well-informed inferences, but inferences nonetheless. I actually agree that your conjecture is a heckuva lot more scientifically plausible than what we see in V. I'm not disputing that now, nor was I before. But that doesn't mean the motivations for the Visitors are entirely without merit, as you seem to suggest. And, actually, that doesn't mean that a story is better served by always presenting the most scientifically accepted conjecture as a plot device.


    Honestly, I think you're missing the forest for the trees, mate. There's nothing wrong with holding stories to high standards, and I commend you for trying to do so. Maybe you really do see the motivations of the Visitors as equating to describing the Eiffel Tower orange, but I don't. Quite frankly, considering your stated vocation as a "career SF writer" your dismissive attitude regarding this is rather startling.

    Are you then as dismissive of Asimov's Foundation? Of Bradbury's Martian Chronicles? Of Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey? Of Star Trek? Of any science fiction in which the science isn't presented in a matter which would endure rigorous challenges from the scientific method? Science fiction is at its best, at least in my opinion, when it is about the people, the characters, involved in the story -- when it is about the humanity of the story -- not when it is purely a description of scientific theory and conjecture.

    As a point of fact, the original V was about humanity's reactions to oppression. It opened with "To the heroism of the Resistance Fighters — past, present, and future — this work is respectfully dedicated" and then proceeded to explore that very human drama, using space aliens as a plot device. The rationale was plausible enough for the story -- meaning that, even if it's highly unlikely, it could happen -- which was the point.

    I can't say I've read any of your work but, as a career SF writer, I do hope you're spending as much time and effort on the human equation as you do on scientific research. If you do, then I may check out some of your work. :techman:
     
  18. FordSVT

    FordSVT Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You don't really have to look at interstellar civilizations to make that extrapolation, you can look at our own. We "synthesize needed substances from raw elements". But what you seem to be focusing on is not the important part of his statement. There are so many resources available in a typical Sol-type system it's mind-boggling... enough minerals and water to supply hundreds of billions of people. If you have the need to expand beyond your own planet for minerals and water, and you have the technology to send a fleet of ships across light years and to other star systems to get them, you'd have the technology to do the same thing at home. Even if they had to come to our system to access such resources, it certainly wouldn't be worth the hassle to bother us here in the inner solar system when all the good stuff (that would be most energy efficient to remove from the solar system) is from the orbits of the asteroid belt to Jupiter, Saturn and beyond. Unless they were building an enclosed Dyson Sphere 10 miles thick and had to support a population in the trillions, the resources available in their home system should suffice quite nicely for a very long time.
     
  19. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, I agree you can easily make that extrapolation. My point, however, is that it *is* an extrapolation, not a "given." It's in the nature of science fiction to extrapolate. And while some extrapolations are going to be more scientifically sound than others, that doesn't mean that stories which incorporate less plausible ideas ought to be dismissed out of hand. So while it is more likely that an advanced civilization would stop elsewhere for water, even raw materials, it's not impossible that a civilization that needed not just water, but food, and an inhabited, industrialized planet as a base of operations for an imperialistic agenda (all of which were stated reasons for the arrival of the Visitors in the original miniseries) would choose Earth as a place of conquest.

    To be dismissive of the story on that basis alone seems, to me, an overly stringent standard for science fiction stories.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What a bizarre question. I'm talking about differences in energy usage, travel time and distance, and the like that are matters of fundamental physical law. Just because nobody's ever jumped off the cliff at the edge of Olympus Mons on Mars doesn't mean it's impossible to predict quite accurately what would happen to someone who did.

    If you think you have to witness something directly to have any information about it, then you don't even understand what science is.

    No, they're not. That word does not mean what you think it means. It is not "conjecture" that our planetary system contains huge amounts of ice; we can see it directly. It is not "conjecture" that Sirius's own planetary and cometary bodies would be far, far closer to an inhabited planet of Sirius than Earth would be; that's just plain obvious. It is not "conjecture" that it takes energy to thrust against a gravity well; hell, you should know that to be an indisputable fact if you've ever so much as gotten winded going up a flight of stairs. There are a lot of things that apply to this discussion that we know for an absolute, indisputable fact, and it's those known facts that demonstrate the absurdity of the premise here.


    You're twisting it. I'm not making some blanket statement about SF in general. I said simply that the idea of aliens needing to take our water is scientifically absurd. You claimed it wasn't, and I rebutted that mistaken impression. And it's got nothing to do with being "dismissive." I like Kenneth Johnson's V. I think it's a good story, a good allegory for the Holocaust. I'm just annoyed by the water thing and wish they'd come up with something more credible.

    If a writer were doing that love story set in Paris, he or she would probably do enough research to get the geography, language, and culture of Paris close enough to reality to be believable. That doesn't mean the story would be about the geography, language, and culture of Paris. It just means the writer would be professional enough to do the research, even if it only contributes to subtle background texture. Because even if most readers won't notice that background texture, some of them will, and they'll be pleased by a story that gets it right and bothered by a story that gets it wrong.

    So your interpretation of my comments is completely absurd and wrong. Whether the research is done right has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the focus of the story is on the material being researched. For your information, I care just as much about "the human equation" as I do about the science. But I reject the school of thought that the setting and universe of the story don't have to make sense so long as the characters are well-drawn. That's just as lazy as getting the science right but writing shallow characters. The setting affects your characters and their actions, so if you want to draw the characters richly and believably, you can't neglect their context.



    You're just not getting it. You're saying "If A were the case, then B could be the case." But the point is that A could never credibly be the case to begin with. No interstellar civilization is ever going to have water-scarcity issues, period. I mean, as I said, water scarcity doesn't arise because water ceases to exist, but because our ability to deliver and recycle it is finite. But if you have interstellar starships capable of supporting thousands of crewmembers, then you must have licked any and all water-recycling issues already, because those ships need effective water recycling far more than a planet surface ever would. The basic premise is just fundamentally self-contradictory.

    Water scarcity is a trope from stories set in Earth's past and present. Some writers assume they can transplant such tropes whole to a science-fiction setting, but this is one trope that simply does not make sense in that setting.

    You're also misunderstanding the question. The question is not whether aliens might choose Earth as a world to be conquered. Of course they could, for reasons of political or cultural imperialism or colonization, for instance. Maybe, possibly, you could justify food being a factor, say, if they had a need for live prey and our biology were reasonably compatible. But water would never be a reason for interstellar conquest. Water is just too damn commonplace in the galaxy for anyone to need to come to Earth specifically in order to obtain it. It's as nonsensical as Voyager running out of deuterium in "Demon."
     

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